A guest post by Karl-Heinz for Notes from Africa
The previous post in this series is The Clanwilliam Flower Show.
The Tuesday, 28 August was a glorious sunny day and we went off to visit the Namaqualand National Park.
As if by magic a tapestry of brilliant colours unfold enticingly along the winding roads of the Namaqua National Park. Butterflies, birds and long-tongued flies dart around among the flowers, seemingly overwhelmed by the abundance and diversity.
Every turn in the road paints an unforgettable picture: valleys filled with Namaqualand daisies and other spring flowers that pulse with sheer energy and joy. Next to some eye-catching succulents, a porcupine and a tall aloe pay witness to a baboon overturning a rock and pouncing on a scorpion. During early August and September, seemingly overnight, the dusty valleys of Namaqualand are transformed into a wonderland, carpeted with wildflowers. With its winter rainfall, Namaqualand is home to the richest bulb flora of any arid region in the world and more than a 1 000 of its estimated 3 500 plant species are found nowhere else on earth.
Escape to the land of contrasts, where the rigorous climate has created a myriad of life forms superbly adapted to their specific habitat. Fields of flowers, star studded nights, quiver trees, enormous granite outcrops and the icy Atlantic are but a few wonders that await the visitor to what is truly the Creators’ playground.
We started at the “Skilpad”(tortoise) portion of the park ± 25 km’s north west of Kamieskroon. We did a 4 km hiking trail through the flowers and often found ourselves on our knees and sometimes stomach taking photos.
The Skilpad Wild Flower Reserve is renowned as one of the prime locations for the annual spring flower displays in Namakwaland from August to October.
The 1000-ha Skilpad Wild Flower Reserve lies to the west of Kamieskroon and has a somewhat higher precipitation factor than the surrounding areas due to its proximity to the coast. The mountainous Kamiesberg area east of Kamieskroon is also superb for mountain biking.
We took the 4×4 route in the park and travelled west across the mountain to the little settlement of “Soebatsfontein”.
The name of this small village (“Fountain of Pleading”) comes from a spring in the middle of the village. Legend has it that a man named Hendrik Stievert pleaded for his life here, but was subsequently murdered by a group of San (Bushmen) in 1798. Soebatsfontein was also the place where local church was held since the 1870′s. There is a campsite available here (without ablution facilities) under some trees. Nearby are the spring and some old gardens. Also close to the camping site is the quartzveld – an area where quartz is found in abundance.
After a wonderful day, we passed the farm “Grootvlei” (dam with windmill and flowers) on our way back to Kammieskroon.
The Namaqualand and Tankwa Karoo series includes:
Thank you to Sonette and Karl-Heinz for sharing their trip and beautiful photographs with me!